Secret dungeons of Koenigsberg
Königsberg dungeons, about which many have heard the most incredible stories, but the existence of which has not yet been fully confirmed, have recently become of particular interest. It happened after the sensational story of a train allegedly discovered in Poland, transporting the Reich gold reserve during the Second World War. Thanks to these rumors, the old legend has received a new life.
Legend or reality?
Since the Kaliningrad region was also a transit area for valuables plundered by the fascists, then Koenigsberg, the secrets of the dungeons of which have not yet been revealed, has attracted particular attention. Throughout all the years that have passed since the end of the war, attempts have been made repeatedly to locate these hypothetical treasuries, but none of them have been crowned with success.
In this regard, many skeptics attribute the very fact of the existence of an extensive network of underground communications to the area of urban legends. However, since there is still no smoke without fire, it makes sense to understand in more detail the arguments presented by both supporters and opponents of this hypothesis.
What can be heard about the dungeons?
First of all, it should be clearly and clearly formulated what the legend says - this is how we will call this information until it has received material confirmation. So, fans of this idea (there are those) claim that an extensive network of tunnels, bunkers, various storage facilities, as well as airfields and military factories was built near Koenigsberg before the liberation by the Soviet troops.
Leaving the city, the Germans partially flooded the underground structures, and where they could not do it, they blew up and thus barricaded the passages to them. In the same place, deep underground, repositories were arranged for the valuables stolen during the war, among which is the famous Amber Room (the photo of its reconstruction is shown in the article).
Since there is no information about their exportation, it remains with a high degree of confidence to assume that all these untold riches still keep secret bunkers and dungeons of Königsberg, a city called Kaliningrad today. Those brave souls who managed to get there, told about the amazing discoveries made by them.Here is the information that for many years excites the imagination of domestic treasure hunters.
Soil unfavorable for underground construction
Now consider the arguments of those who believe that the dungeons of Konigsberg are the fruit of leisure fiction. They, in particular, indicate that the foundation on which the city is built are loose sedimentary rocks, extending to a depth of from forty to two hundred meters. In addition, the groundwater level is unusually high in this area. According to experts, underground construction in such conditions is possible, but it requires prohibitive costs.
To some extent, their point of view is confirmed by the fact that the overwhelming majority of the fortifications of the city were built on the surface of the earth, and then securely covered with a thick layer of soil. Only an insignificant part of them, equipped with a fairly high-tech waterproofing system, is underground.
Further skeptic arguments
The fact that the Konigsberg dungeons, at least in the form in which their legend draws, can hardly be a reality,the characteristics of bomb shelters erected by the Germans during the war and intended for the civilian population of the city indirectly indicate. All of them, with rare exceptions, are rather high ground structures, the thick walls of which are made of highly durable concrete that can withstand a shock wave. What can this fact say, if not about the difficulties associated with the construction of underground shelters?
And finally, skeptics say that even the presence of a certain system of underground economy, without which it is difficult to imagine modern life, does not allow us to speak about the existence of a whole underground city.
Swaths of basement bomb shelters
Now it would be appropriate to give the floor to their opponents, who claim that the Konigsberg dungeons, the photos of which, according to them, have been cited more than once in print, are an objective reality. One of their favorite arguments is the presence of a long chain of interconnecting basements of houses, built on one of the main streets of the old city, once called Kneiphofish Landgasse.
The building density on it was so high that all the houses were located very close to each other.Only narrow aisles remained between them. And during the war years, when the real probability of a city being bombarded by Soviet aviation, the commandant of Koenigsberg issued an order: to cut through passages between them to make more effective use of basements as bomb shelters, which was done with purely German accuracy.
In the same way, the basements of the houses were connected in other streets. As a result, infinitely long systems of underground passages were formed, where it was possible, going down to the air-raid shelter and not rising to the surface, to walk two or three kilometers and go outside in a completely different area. By the way, photographs of such transitions did appear in print more than once.
The "mystery" of doorways
An additional intrigue of all this history is given by tightly walled doorways, which can be seen if you walk on an underground railway tunnel connecting the South Station with the sea coast of the Zemland Peninsula. According to many enthusiasts, it was for him or for others who made those finds in the dungeons of Königsberg, about which legends tell.
But then treasure hunters will have to somewhat disappoint. The history of these walled doors is in fact quite prosaic, although not without a gloomy hue. The fact is that under the Germans, in one of the nearby streets (now it bears the name of Handel) there was a detention facility, and not far from it was the city court. It was most convenient to deliver the prisoners from one institution to another via an underground passage - so they did not shock by their appearance the bystanders.
Subsequently, when the Germans were driven out, the new owners considered such security measures to be excessive. The tunnel was walled up, and today only barely noticeable remnants of doorways remind of prisoners escorted by its narrow passages.
Century-old underground collectors
Frequently excite the fantasy of enthusiasts and the so-called storm wells, built in the city at the junction of the 19th and 20th centuries. At that time, the territory of Königsberg expanded significantly as a result of the development of a number of new areas that required the creation of engineering infrastructure, which, among other things, included sewer and stormwater collection lines.
How they were created, it is not difficult to imagine, given that the technology for manufacturing pipes has not yet been mastered, and similar structures were made of brick. Apparently, a deep ditch was dug in the ground, and, going down into it, the bricklayer laid out a section of the pipe at the bottom, which had, as a rule, a rectangular section.
After that, he went upstairs, and the finished structure was covered with earth. Typically, the width of such collectors ranged around 90-100 cm, and the height was made about 120 cm. Made from high-quality bricks, they are perfectly preserved to this day, and many of them became routes for those who continue to search for Königsberg dungeons.
Where did the legend come from?
What gave rise to the legend of the mysterious dungeons - so tenacious that over the course of several decades it continues to grow into new details? Well, first of all, it should be noted that wherever there are at least some underground structures, rumor tends to exaggerate their real size. In addition, one should not lose sight of the large number of bomb shelters, bunkers, underground collectors, etc.
Apparently, the rumor about a kind of underground city arose immediately after the war among Soviet settlers, most of whom were village residents in the past. The kind of collectors that were not used for a long time and purified by rainwater was mysterious for them and stirred up their imagination.
Literary popularizers legends
A large role in the popularization of the legend was played by literary works in which, one way or another, the dungeons of Konigsberg appear. The book by L. Platonov “The Secret Fairway”, as well as the novella by V. Ershov and V. Dmitriev, the mystery of the Amber Room, which was sensational in its time, was well known to several generations of Soviet readers. To them can be attributed, and a number of other publications.
Excavations of the castle ruins
Considerable food for the creation of the legend was also given to the ruins of the city castle, built in 1225 by the Czech king Ottokar II and destroyed at the end of the war by Allied aircraft. Its towers and walls could still be seen until 1967, after which they were blown up by order of the local party organs. That rumor hides secret royal dungeons in Königsberg, the rumor continues to this day.
Scientists who in 2001 conducted archaeological excavations with the support of the German magazine Spiegel tried to give a real answer to this question. However, their funding was soon discontinued, and the work carried out did not bring the substantial results that the whole country, and with it the former Koenigsberg, expected from them.
How many dark dungeons remain, awaiting their researchers, and whether they exist at all, may be established within the framework of a scientific program, the creation of which has been planned for a long time, but is constantly being postponed.
Or maybe this honor will fall to enthusiasts-diggers, at their own risk and undertaking underground expeditions. The Future Will show. At the present time, the dungeons of ancient Koenigsberg still remain, though exciting the imagination, but still a legend.